Israeli LGBT Community Responds to Horrific News from Chechnya in A Viral Video

“Israel will not shut its eyes,” declares a new video produced as a response from the LGBT community in Israel to the horror that is taking place in Chechnya: “We will work vigorously until Israel declares itself as a country that absorbs refugees who are persecuted in Russia for their sexual orientation,” says one of the activists.

Following the reports of the first concentration camp for gay men in the republic of Chechnya in southern Russia, members of the LGBT community in Israel came from all over the country to the gay center in the Meir Park in Tel Aviv to express their solidarity against the oppression of the Russian government. “Israel demands that these torture camps be closed,” they announce in the video they filmed.

Shooting of the video took place Saturday and was initiated by a group called QUEERYUORSELF. It deliberately took place around the monument to commemorate LGBT people who were persecuted in the Holocaust.

“QUEERYOURSELF” is a free organization that brings together individuals with the belief and desire to work in cooperation between different communities and to promote the LGBT community’s social value in the global community, as well as promoting the knowledge that we are unique by being oursleves, which provides the primary basis for identification among all of us.

Kol Lior Kolton, one of the organization’s leaders: “The idea for the video was born after an emergency meeting at the Aguda on Friday about the situation in Chechnya. We knew that the next morning there was an LGBT picnic in Meir Park, and we saw it as an opportunity to offer people to join the initiative and take part in the video. The Holocaust is something that the whole world knows, but today, seventy years later, they seem to have forgotten the damage and the violence and have forgotten how to get up from their couch and act against it. We will do everything in our power to arouse a cry for action out of the understanding that it may soon be us, and from historical experience that when such a model is perceived as legitimate, its expansion is aggressive and changes the face of world society for many years. It creates a fear of being who you are.”